ALL THE FEAST DAYS OF MARY mark the great mysteries of her life and her part in the work of redemption. The central mystery of her life and person is her divine motherhood. The Assumption completes God’s work in her since it was not fitting that the flesh that had given life to God himself should ever undergo corruption.
Even though the Assumption of Mary was not declared a dogma until 1950, the Church has held this teaching sacred from her earliest centuries.
By the fifth and sixth centuries, the Eastern rites of the Church developed liturgies to the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrating her Assumption in Egypt and Syria. In the middle of the fifth century, the feast of the Anapausis (“fallen asleep) or Dormition of the Mother of God began to be celebrated in a basilica near Jerusalem which tradition taught held her tomb and final resting place. By the end of the sixth century, this feast had spread throughout the Eastern Empire and was to be celebrated on August 15.
The tradition of the Dormition of Mary made its way to France in the sixth century and was celebrated on January 18. During the pontificate of Pope Sergius I in the late seventh century, the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God was commonly celebrated and eventually became known in the West as the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. By the twelfth century, this teaching was accepted and celebrated in the universal Church in both the East and West. In 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of Mary a dogma of the Catholic Church in these words: “The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven.”
The Marian dogmas do not take away from our relationship with Jesus Christ. Knowing them will only increase and strengthen our relationship with our Lord each day. If you want to get to know a person, spend time with his mother. This is exactly what we need to do with the Blessed Virgin Mary. The more time we spend with her and learn about her, the more we will come to know and love Jesus.